Virtual Particles - Myth or Reality?
To understand what a virtual particle is, it would be desirable to know what virtuality is.
The ACADEMIC website says:
“ VIRTUALITY (from Latin virtualis-possible) an object or state that does not really exist, but can arise under certain conditions ”.
How it turns out there are countless such “certain conditions” and each one interprets them in his own way. And most importantly, they do not really exist, but they can arise. I do not exist, but I arose under certain conditions. Yes, this is how everything arises under certain conditions. Only that which cannot exist even the slightest moment does not arise.
The following thoughts are also expressed:
" Virtual - performing the functions of something that in fact is not, while from the user's point of view it does not differ from something (from English virtual - similar, indistinguishable) " .
Similar, indistinguishable, but where did it come from? Why does it have to function as something?
Emelin V.A. in the article "Virtual reality and simulacra" writes:
“ The term“ virtual ”goes back to the concept of“ virtus ”, which was used in medieval Christian philosophy to denote an actual active force. Through this category, the scholastics tried to answer the question: how are absolute essences realized in temporary, private events. Thomas Aquinas, using the concept of virtuality, solved one of the key problems of medieval philosophy - how realities of different levels coexist, for example, a thinking soul, an animal soul, a vegetable soul ”.
As you can see, the concept of virtuality arose long ago, but it was a real method of describing the unknown. Thomas Aquinas operated with real-life objects and actions. His virtuality was reality, in fact it is unknown.
For Thomas, there was no doubt that the soul really existed in any living being, but he could not see it, could not say what it is and where it is located in a living being. Here she is, nearby, someone sees how she flies away from the deceased person, but she always slips away. The tree has stood, and still stands, and if it is not now, then you can immediately understand that someone cut it down and used it for their own needs. No sacrament, but with the soul it is not so.
But the modern world perceives virtuality not as a way of manipulation, but as an object of manipulation. The concept of virtual "reality" appears. Until now, objective reality has existed: table, computer, day, cold, wolf, etc. This reality exists independently of us, and indeed of any subject. We can measure this reality, weigh, understand what it consists of, how it interacts with the outside world, etc.
We can even find in our brain a real objectively existing configuration of the energy state of certain neurons, more precisely the electrons of these neurons, corresponding to these specified phenomena. For a table, these are such and such states of electrons, such and such neurons; for a computer, this is a different configuration of neurons and their state, etc. This is described in articles "Feeling" , "How sensation is formed and works" and others.
If the energy states of the electrons of the table configuration are changed (to force these electrons to emit or absorb some additional portions of energy), then we will get another table or some other object in general. Just as in a computer, instead of one record, a corrected record or, in general, another record in the same memory area may appear. This means that there is a real object and its real record. A real object can exist, regardless of whether it is displayed somewhere or not. The reflection of reality can objectively exist in the form of many different objects: records on paper, paintings, dummies, the energy field of the brain, etc. This is dialectical materialism.
But there are other real records in the brain of a subject that do not reflect real-life objects. For example, there are horse and human energy fields in the subject's brain. If a certain field of neurotransmitters is excited, an image of a horse appears in front of the object, and if neurotransmitters of another field are ignited, then an image of a person arises. Each of these fields is excited by its own signal. How to do this you need to read the article "What is consciousness" .
These images can also appear in an animal. In animals and humans, these images were obtained as a result of contemplation of real-life objects. Both animals and humans can see fragments of these objects. Let's say they see (realistically) half a man and a horse without a head. And, only a person can attach a person's torso to the body of a horse, that is, combine the field of neurotransmitters of horse and human fragments under one excitation signal. This means, as soon as such a signal appears, a person will immediately have an image of a centaur, and not a horse or a person separately. This ability of the human brain to combine fields into one system is called creativity .
Animals differ from humans only in this quality. And such concepts as sensation, memory and consciousness, they differ only quantitatively. As can be understood, as a result of this, a real-life energy field appeared in the subject's brain, but it does not reflect any real-life object.
There are as many such virtual objects in the human brain. Sometimes it is nice to have some exceptional traits, such as the strength and speed of a horse, but to be as smart as a human being. It was especially tempting in ancient times, now it is more pleasant to be some kind of superman or transformer. Naturally, all invisible hats, self-made tablecloths and much more are a pleasant, but harmless dream, since they are not achievable and not realizable. They are not transformed into objective reality.
The virtual world of shooters is completely different. It is simulated (emulated) , as Wikipedia writes, from objects and processes of real objectivity, which are still unknown and not tested by experience. It is worth a while to run around with a virtual machine after a virtual opponent and, in the end, the real image of any passer-by can completely coincide with the image of a virtual opponent, and then the matter can only be behind the machine. The position of dialectical materialism is fully at work here - being determines consciousness. Learning is the most important element of our being.
But even more harmful because of its prevalence and its compulsion to accept the virtual world - the world of mathematics. It is not as sharp as "shooters", because it gives only false messages and rarely brings a person to illness.
Undoubtedly, it is absurd to say that there is only one harm from “shooters” and mathematics. If the "shooter" is a simulator for a policeman or a warrior, then its benefits are undeniable. Mathematics helps to discover planets, to calculate all kinds of production processes, our budget, but not the state budget, since there is one unknown - how much will be stolen, well, and many other areas where mathematics is useful. That is, mathematics is effective where it works with known objects. And then there are incidents.
I read a book by General Groves, who was in charge of the secret of the Manhattan Project, the production of the first atomic bomb. The book was kind of called Brighter than a Thousand Stars or something like that. Maybe I'm confusing names and titles - I've read it for a long time. So, in this laboratory, it was established to make bets about something. This time it was necessary to guess as accurately as possible the power of the explosion of the new bomb. Despite the fact that everything was calculated as scrupulously as possible mathematically, there were some corrections and simplifications, which, in the opinion of mathematicians, gave a certain range of results. The main result of the calculations showed an explosion power of about 4.5 kilotons. The bets were for one dollar. All assumptions revolved around the numbers 4 - 5 kilotons and only one laboratory assistant said that the explosion of the bomb would be equal to 20 kilotons. Naturally, he was dismissed as a loser. But practice has shown t hat he won - the power of the explosion was equal to 18 kilotons. So much for the math.
And if it was an asteroid that would have to be rolled off its trajectory so that it would not crash into the Earth and order everyone to live long. Such a mistake could cost us dearly. Of course, if this mistake led to the fact that this asteroid fell not on the heads of rice growers and fishermen, but on those who worked in department 731, then this could only be welcomed. So we unwittingly found ourselves in the virtual world. Back to the math.
Many people believe that mathematics is a reality that exists objectively independently of the subjects. For example, Roger Penrose, fascinated by the fractality of the Mandelbrot set, believes that such a set exists independently of the subject. I wonder if it is possible to build such a set in the form of a chessboard? And if so, what impression would it have made on Penrose? Undoubtedly, what they tell us about the Mandelbrot set, we will believe in that. We'll turn to the simpler sections of mathematics to keep up with the subject.
Few understand tensor calculus or can take rot rot . Slightly more are able to differentiate or integrate. Probably half of humanity knows the multiplication table, but almost everyone knows how to add and subtract. Life makes you know what change is required when buying. Even the latter is unattainable for animals. They have an instinct - where there is more food, there is good. And then it turns out that what a good engineer or even a mathematician cannot do, is within the power of a simple piece of hardware in the form of a computer. He multiplies quite easily, extracts roots, lays out functionin in rows and the like. But if you disassemble it into any knots or parts, then you will not be able to find any part or knot that could multiply 2 by 3, not to mention integrals or differentials. Like, in the brain, you cannot find a detail responsible for the image of the note la or the sweet taste of candy.
It turns out that even the most modern computer can only add and subtract, like some native with his shells. Moreover, even in the entire known universe there is nothing that could multiply 2 by 3. More precisely, we do not find this. And nature does not reproduce the numbers themselves. The swan may be similar to the number 2, but not too much. No matter how you multiply a swan by a swan, you will not get four swans out of two swans. There is another procedure for this in nature. If you have 2 logs of firewood and they brought you 3 more logs, then what kind of operator do not apply to them, 6 such logs will not come out of them. Neither the operator of multiplication, nor exponentiation, nor the Lagrangian, nor the Hamiltonian, nor even the path integral, nothing will help, because this is not a virtual, but an objective energy. 5 logs of wood will never give as much heat as 6 logs can.
Thus, we can safely say that the mathematical world is the most widespread virtual world. It is objectively found in the form of energy fields in the brain of more or less subjects. The subjects will disappear, and there will be no Mandelbrot set, unlike the table, tree, stars, etc.
This virtual world is necessary for us. We cannot measure the distance to the Sun with a tape measure, but we can calculate, we cannot determine the mass of the Earth empirically, but we can calculate, approximately, and the like. But, despite the positive aspects of the mathematical world, there is a lot of negative in it.
Virtuality is a great tool for scientists. If the Casimir plates are repelled, then this is easily explained by the repulsion of electrons on the surface of the plates. If they do not repel or attract, then this can be explained by the neutrality of the atoms. And if they are attracted, how can this be explained? You can replace attraction by pushing. But logic requires that a collision occurs, it is necessary that on one side the pushing force is greater than on the other. Where do you get the strength in a vacuum? It doesn't matter that there is no ether in the vacuum, but it is full of virtual particles of all kinds. True, it is not clear what they consist of and what their properties are.
The infinite number of photons, from neutrinos and relic radiation to the radio wave range, which fill all the space known to us, does not suit scientists, because, in their opinion, all these objects can only repel, but in no case can attract. Dialectics is not a decree for them. And such objectively existing photons both in vacuum and in bodies do not suit them. They cannot create reduced pressure between the plates so that forces from opposite sides of the plate can compress them. They need virtual particles, some kind of invisible hats, when they are not needed, they are not, and as soon as they are needed, they are immediately born.
As Wikipedia narrates:
“The following effects are often explained by the presence of virtual particles:
1. Spontaneous emission of a photon in the process of decay of an excited atom or nucleus; such a decay is impossible according to the laws of ordinary quantum physics (since the excited states are exact stationary states of the Schredinger equation). It is explained by the interaction of an atom with zero-point oscillations of the electromagnetic field in a vacuum;
2. The Casimir effect, which consists in the observed mutual attraction or repulsion of uncharged non-magnetic bodies under the influence of quantum fluctuations in a vacuum;
3. Vacuum polarization, which includes the generation of a particle-antiparticle pair or “vacuum decay”, such as the spontaneous generation of an electron-positron pair;
4. Hawking radiation, which is supposedly generated on the event horizon of black holes;
5. The Unruh effect is an effect similar to Hawking radiation, but observed when particles are accelerated. ”
Think ... the decay of an excited atom! Yes, this excitement is the process of decay. Until you shake the pear, fruits will not fall out of it. An excited state can only be supported by external forces, it can be dynamically equilibrium and always tending to go to a stationary state. When a photon hits an atom, it, or rather its electron, goes into an excited state - it tries to absorb it and increase its mass. If absorption succeeds, the electron of the atom passes into another stationary state and the process ends. If a photon is not resonant for a given state of an electron, then it will be emitted by it according to the Huygens principle and retransmitted further or may be reflected back.
How does the Sun, Earth, candle, cat, carrot, etc. emit streams of photons? Are these spontaneous or forced emissions? Or do we have two processes: an objective process with real photons and particles and a virtual process with virtual photons and particles? Real things can be somehow observed, measured and, possibly, influenced. But what can you do with virtual photons and particles, as they say, with cockroaches in your head?
The Casimir effect is described in the article "Casimir Effect" on this site.
If we imagine the vacuum as the Dirac sea, then the emergence of electron-positron pairs in it looks quite logical. And, of course, local polarization will be the consequence. You can read about this in the articles "Quantum, what does it consist of" and "Quantum of energy, how it works and how it moves" .
I can't say anything about Hawking radiation. We can only assume that this is some kind of special structure of electric and magnetic fields, which was formed during the corresponding interaction of particles, in particular annihilation, and latent (dark) energy.
The Unruh effect is hardly similar to the Hawking effect. This is simply explained by quantum mechanics. The accelerated body can, even must, emit something from the radiation spectrum of an absolutely black body. While the ISO was stationary or moving evenly, nothing was radiated in it. As soon as some forces began to accelerate this IFR, all electrons began emit photons . Photons are usually emitted in the direction of travel, i.e. they move from the remaining stationary system and do not reach it. Now, if a light bulb were lit in an accelerating system (it shines in all directions), then its light could be seen everywhere. But if it is a flashlight, then its light will also not be visible, provided that the light of the flashlight is directed from a stationary system. Of course, if the flashlight beam hits something (drops, molecules, any objects), then the flashlight beam will be visible. But this is reflected radiation. It follows from this that virtual particles are more like real particles, the actions of which are not precisely and not fully understood in certain phenomena.
Further, Wikipedia gives a large list of phenomena where virtual particles act. Two such phenomena are, for example:
“ Virtual particles are capable of transferring energy over macroscopic distances, as, for example, during the operation of an electric transformer or nuclear magnetic resonance ”.
Well, where is virtuality here ( virtualis - possible or virtual - similar, indistinguishable )? Both in the transformer and in the tomograph, ordinary photons work, which we are able to generate and register. Accelerated particles emit portions of energy in the form of photons, which propagate in space from particle to particle. The magnetic field of the transformer core simply focuses these photons on the secondary winding, increasing its efficiency. Without a core, a large number of photons will escape into space.
This is exactly what happens in radio transmitters. Radio wave photons can travel great distances if they are not absorbed. This photon flux is the displacement current. Failure to understand such simple things leads to the need to resort to virtuality. It is not virtual - similar, indistinguishable , it just is.